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October 2020

Boun Ork Phansa (End of Buddhist Lent)

Lao PDR

Boun Ork Phansa is the last day of Buddhist Lent. It occurs on the 15th day of the 11th month of the lunar calendar. In the morning, donations and offering are made at temples around the country. In the evening candlelight processions are held around the temples while hundreds around of colorful floats decorated with flowers, incense and candles are set adrift down and rivers giving thanks to the river spirit (Lai Heua Fai). They are said to pay respect to the Buddha and to thank the mother of rivers for providing water for our lives as well as to ask for blessing and to float the bad luck for the past year away, enabling the good luck to flow in. Villagers who live far from rivers set up model boat made of banana stems and decorated with flowers and candlelight, while other simply light up some candles in front of their houses and do their prayer, wishing for good luck. This colorful ritual has been carried on by Lao people for thousands of years.